By: Scott J. Connolly and Sandra E. Kahn
On November 22, a federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary order that temporarily blocks the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing changes to the salary basis for white collar overtime exemptions. The new salary rule, which was to become effective on December 1, 2016 would have required employers to increase exempt employees’ minimum salary from $23,660 to $47,476. The preliminary court order blocking the rule appears to apply to all public and private employers nationwide.
Find out how the judge’s order will affect the new salary rule, which was to become effective on December 1. Read this month’s Employment Law Alert.
By: Sandra E. Kahn
On December 1, 2016, any employees who earn less than $47,476 annually will be entitled to overtime and must be treated as non-exempt, as per the U.S. Department of Labor’s final rule (“Final Rule”).
Don’t wait any longer to address this critical change in the law.
Find out how the Final Rule will affect your current employee classifications and pay practices, and the consequences of not complying with the law.
Read this month’s Employment Law Alert.
By, Sandra E. Kahn
On May 18, 2016, President Obama announced the publication of the U.S. Department of
Labor’s final rule (“Final Rule”) updating the overtime regulations, and providing that employees who earn less than $47,476 annually will be entitled to overtime.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) “white collar” exemptions are familiar to most employers. Under the FLSA, employees must be paid the minimum amount required by the statute on a salary basis, and the employee’s job duties must primarily involve executive, administrative, or professional duties. The Final Rule changes only the salary basis test, leaving in place the existing duties test.
New Federal Law Protects Trade Secrets But Also Requires Changes to Employee and Contractor Agreements
By: Sandra E. Kahn
The new Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) is expected to be signed into law by President Obama. The Act will allow claims for trade secret theft to be brought under a federal civil cause of action.
Under certain circumstances, the Act will provide protection for whistleblowers who divulge trade secrets to the government in order to report wrongdoing. As such, employers will now have to inform their employees of that protection in any agreement or contract. It is advised that employers consult with their counsel to revise contracts as necessary.
For a more detailed explanation of the DTSA, read the full post on our Good Company blog.
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has released its statistics for fiscal year 2013 and for the fourth straight year charges alleging unlawful retaliation by employers was the leading type of discrimination alleged. Retaliation claims accounted for 41.1% of the charges filed with the EEOC, up three percent from 2012. Retaliation was followed by race discrimination (35.3%), gender, including sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination (29.5%), disability discrimination (27.2%), and age discrimination (22.8%). The EEOC’s enforcement and litigation statistics for FY 1997 through 2013 can be found here.
For more information on this topic please contact any member of our Employment Law Group.
Employee Recordkeeping Requirements Under Federal and Massachusetts Wage Laws: Which Records Should Employers Keep?
Keeping complete and accurate time and wage records is not just a legal requirement– it is also a good business practice. In a lawsuit for unpaid wages or overtime, the burden of proving when and for how long an employee worked is placed on the employer. An employer who has kept thorough and accurate time and wage records will be better equipped to defend against a wage and hour lawsuit.
For each non-exempt employee, federal regulations require that employers retain at least the following records:
- Employee’s full name and social security number.
- Address, including zip code.
- Birth date, if younger than 19.
- Sex and occupation.
- Time and day of week when employee’s workweek begins.
- Hours worked each day.
- Total hours worked each workweek.
- Basis on which employee’s wages are paid (e.g., “$9 per hour,” “$440 a week,” “piecework”).
- Regular hourly pay rate.
- Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings.
- Total overtime earnings for the workweek.
- All additions to or deductions from the employee’s wages.
- Total wages paid each pay period.
- Date of payment and the pay period covered by the payment.
For each exempt employee, federal regulations require that employers retain at least the records listed above, except those listed in numbers 6 through 10 and a description of the basis on which wages are paid, e.g. the dollar amount of earnings per month, per week, per month plus commissions, benefits, etc.
For more information on recordkeeping requirements or the prevention of wage and hour lawsuits, please contact a member of the Employment Law Group.
By: Maura Malone
In June, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in United States v. Windsor which struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and cleared the way for federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
To comply with the Supreme Court’s decision, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has now revised previously issued guidances on the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and expanded FMLA coverage to legally married same-sex couples.
The FMLA entitles eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employees had not taken leave. Prior to the DOL’s revisions, although same-sex couples could take FMLA leave to care for or bond with a child, they were not entitled to FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse.
The DOL’s revisions delete references to DOMA from its FMLA guidances and clarify that under the FMLA, the term “spouse” means:
. . . a husband or wife as defined or recognized under state law for purposes of marriage in the state where the employee resides, including “common law” marriage and same-sex marriage.
Because the definition of “spouse” is tied to the definition of marriage in the state where the employee resides, FMLA spousal rights do not apply to employees whose same-sex marriage is not recognized by the state in which they live.
As a result of the DOL’s revisions, employers with employees in states which recognize same-sex marriage should ensure that their FMLA policies and practices provide for leave to an employee whose same-sex spouse requires care.
Employers should contact a member of the Employment Group with any questions related to FMLA benefits for employees in a same-sex marriage.